Week Ending Sept. 9, 2012. Songs: Taylor’s Back On Top
Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" returns to #1 on the Hot 100 in the wake of her performance of the song on last week's VMAs. This is the song's third week on top of Billboard's flagship chart. That's the longest run at #1 for a song by a "core country artist" since Kenny Rogers' "Lady" was #1 for six weeks in November and December 1980 (which was a full nine years before Swift was born).
Both of these songs seriously stretch the definition of country music. Pop titans Max Martin and Shellback co-wrote and co-produced Swift's hit. Pop and R&B giant Lionel Richie wrote and produced Rogers' smash. (Country radio was far more accepting of Rogers' adult contemporary-style ballad, which reached #1 on Hot Country Songs, than they have been of Swift's sleek pop hit, which debuted and peaked at #13 on the country chart.)
"We Are Never Ever…" is the best-selling song in the U.S. for the fourth straight week. It's the first song to spend its first four weeks at #1 on Hot Digital Songs since Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" achieved the feat in February and March of last year. Swift's smash has sold 1,467,000 copies in its first four weeks. Only two songs in digital history have been further along at the four-week point. Flo Rida's "Right Round" sold 1,750,000 copies in its first four weeks. "Born This Way" sold 1,474,000 copies in its first four weeks, to narrowly edge Swift's smash for the female crown.
Swift also has the #2 song on Hot Digital Songs: "Ronan," which she introduced on Friday's Stand Up 2 Cancer telethon. Swift wrote the ballad after following the blog of a mother who lost her four-year son, Ronan, to cancer. "Ronan" sold 211K copies, not enough to catch "We Are Never Ever…" (284K), but more than such radio smashes as Maroon 5's "One More Night," fun.'s "Some Nights" and Flo Rida's "Whistle."
Swift is the fifth artist in digital history to have the two best-selling songs in the U.S. simultaneously. Mariah Carey was the first artist to achieve the feat, with "Don't Forget About Us" and her holiday classic "All I Want For Christmas Is You" in December 2005. Beyonce scored in November 2008 with "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" and "If I Were A Boy." The Black Eyed Peas did it in June 2009 with "I Gotta Feeling" and "Boom Boom Pow." Ke$ha followed suit in January 2010 with "TiK ToK" and "Blah Blah Blah" (featuring 3OH3!). (You'll notice that they're all female solo artists or female-centered bands. Beyonce wasn't kidding when she sang "Run The World (Girls).")